Visit to the museum is an interesting walk in the political, religious and artistic history of the city. In Pistoia as elsewhere, the idea of founding a city museum took shape at the beginning of the nineteenth century when Carlo Fabroni and Giosuè Matteini undertook the responsability of examining, with this end in mind, the works that had been displaced by the suppression of religious orders.
The artworks selected remained in storage in the Monastery of San Francesco until the first years of this century when provisions were made for creating Pistoia's museum in the City Hall where it still is today.
The collections were reordered several times before this present arrangement was inaugurated in 1981 and they reflect the activity of a center that, no matter how minor (the experiences of nearby Florence were always felt in Pistoia), has made an original contribution to Italy's artistic culture.
The collection includes works of painting, sculpture and decorative arts representative of a time frame that dates from the mid 1200s to the mid 1700s. The nucleus of the collection comes from suppressed religious orders as well as from private donations such as those by Gelli and Puccini.
The medieval era, which left some rare masterpieces in Pistoia, is well-represented in the rooms of the museum. However, even more significant is the presence of sixteenth century paintings, mostly depicting the theme of the Holy Conversation. Among these, the work known as The Madonna della Pergola by Bernardino Detti is notable for its originality. Detti is joined by representatives of a truly Pistoian school: Cerino Cerini, Domenico Rossermini, Bernardino del Signoraccio, Fra' Paolino and lo Scalabrino. Their works demonstrate how painters in Pistoia were able to develop a style that, although it showed its connections to the Florentine Mannerism of Andrea del Sarto and Fra' Bartolomeo, was able to preserve its own original identity.
The museum's rooms also propose a rich panoramic view of seventeenth and eighteenth century painting, a period in which top artists were in the city working under commission on numerous altar pieces or on major fresco project.
Stimulated by the presence of important artists, a local school developed along the lines of the better known Florentine movements and this can be seen in the museum's works by Giovanni da San Giovanni and Cecco Bravo.
The best known representatives of the Pistoian school were Alessio Cimignani, his son Ciacinto - an artist dear to Pope Clement IX - and Francesco Leoncini.
The museum's great hall houses their works as well as a number of genre paintings, among which several portraits of famous people. The works from the Puccini family donation form a separate nucleus and, while it includes paintings from various periods, it also counts several interesting pieces inspired by historical theme painting of the nineteenth century. Although Pistoia has several other centers dedicated to the art of this century, the museum houses (on the same floor) the Michelucci Center, a section dedicated to local artists active between the two World Wars.
Reduced 2,00 euro
Cumulative ticket 6,50 euro (it's valid for 3 days for 3 museums); 5,00 euro (it's valid for 3 days for 2 museums)
Free entrance, for older than 35 years old and younger than 18 years
For further informations:
Ph: +39 0573371296
Comune di Pistoia